AER Lingus will today tell a Dáil committee that it scores better than almost any other airline in Europe when it comes to leisure travel.
And it said its readiness to resume flying this summer “has not been matched by airports and ground handlers that have experienced an outage.”
The airline claims to have operated “one of the most robust flight schedules of any European network airline”.
Chief Executive Lynne Embleton says Aer Lingus “planned to operate 8,353 flights in June and we got away with all but 223”.
But Ms Embleton will argue the cancellation rate is still just 1.8 per cent – a fraction of the airline’s continental competitors.
She points out that Aer Lingus had far fewer cancellations in June than, for example, larger European airlines such as EasyJet (14), KLM (11), Lufthansa (10) and Air France (7).
“While Aer Lingus had some cancellations, we had a flight completion rate of almost 100 per cent in May and 98 per cent in June. The vast majority of our customers and their luggage have been successfully delivered,” she will tell Dáil’s Transport Committee today.
“Aer Lingus apologizes to all customers who have had a less than satisfactory experience and we would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to resolve any issues,” said Ms Embleton.
“We are incredibly frustrated by the disruption to operations this summer and our people are doing a remarkable job in difficult circumstances.”
She says Aer Lingus has made every effort to return to pre-pandemic travel plans.
“Even after the Omicron wave, we have reiterated our intention that the peak in summer 2022 will account for approximately 90 percent of our 2019 flights.
“We planned for the return of passenger demand – and were prepared for it. We built in appropriate buffers to deal with a reasonable level of additional interference. We hired staff in good time.”
June passenger numbers were 81 percent of 2019 levels, while headcount was 91 percent.
“However, our readiness has not been matched by airports and groundhandlers that have failed to allocate adequate resources for summer 2022 operations,” argues Ms Embleton.
“If every airport and handling agent were as prepared as Aer Lingus, we would not be facing the scale of the challenges we are currently facing across our network.”
The advice to be at the airport 2.5 hours before departure for short-haul flights and 3.5 hours for long-haul flights (with an extra hour when checking a bag) “remains problematic” as early passengers “compete” with those for later flights. , She says.
“This poses challenges for both airlines and passengers in terms of baggage drop and check-in.”
Further improvements in airport resource sourcing are needed to ensure service standards are acceptable to customers and airlines.
But Aer Lingus is also affected by the cancellation of connections at Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow, she says, where there are also baggage system failures and security problems.
Industrial action is disrupting many airports in Europe, such as Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Brussels, as well as French and Italian air traffic control
“The reality is that operational challenges are making it impossible for Aer Lingus to deliver the experience that we want some of our customers to have,” says Ms. Embleton.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/aer-lingus-claims-it-is-performing-better-than-almost-any-airline-in-europe-on-holiday-getaways-41867952.html Aer Lingus claims it “performs better than almost any other airline in Europe when it comes to leisure travel”.